Isle of the Amazons in the Vermilion Sea
Adventurer Gregory MacDonald narrates recollections of Baja California and the Sea of Cortéz--from the mid-sixteenth century to the present--as told by well-known authors and those who have been moved to record their personal impressions and experiences. Original illustrations by award-winning printmaker Judith Palmer transform Isle of the Amazons in the Vermilion Sea into a masterpiece.
Myth has it that Baja California was once ruled by a giant queen, Calafia. Her subjects were black Amazon women, and they lived in a land of ferocious griffins, tall mountains, precipitous cliffs, and deep valleys. Baja was also said to be an island of gold and precious stones. Spanish explorers, lured by tales of riches and beautiful women, were drawn to this mythical place. Jesuit priests, adventurers, fishermen, hunters, and the curious soon followed.
Montalvo, Cortéz, and Padre Eusebio Kino--in 1400, 1535, and 1701, respectively--describe the flora and fauna of a peninsula untouched by civilization, and in the twentieth century, Bancroft, Cannon, Crosby, Gardner, North, Steinbeck, and Octavio Paz, among others, speak of the fishing, the hunting, and, despite hardships, the pure joy of being. The writers observe fish pileups and feeding-frenzies; suffer insect bites, cactus pricks, and jellyfish stings; and are awed by magical sunsets, the silence of the desert, and the stars.
Excerpted from diaries, letters, field notes, books, and journals, this superb collection of short impressions gives us the sights, smells, sounds, and tastes of mountain hamlets, lush valleys, hot deserts, and blue seas, creating a stunning narrative of the mythology, history, and topology of the Baja land, sea, and people.
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